The Gossiping Gourmet: Edgy comfort food served up at Red Table

November 09, 2011|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • Two flatbread favorites at Red Table.
Two flatbread favorites at Red Table. (Courtesy Taylor…)

Red Table, a spacious new dining spot, has opened in Huntington Beach with a very casual vibe and an edgy interpretation of comfort food.

Chef Louis Jocson calls it a "gastro bar" with craft beers and fine wines. The whole concept is slightly unconventional, from the eclectic décor to the menu to the style of service.

The lofty ceiling is supported by big steel girders and cinderblock walls, which seem to absorb some of the noise since the room is buzzy but not loud. There are half a dozen different kinds of light fixtures, ranging from chandeliers to giant baskets. The art is equally quirky, with gilt-framed impressionistic scenes as well as large graphic images, including one that reads, "Eat your vegetables."

The room is divided by two faux-branch sculptured hedges, which surround the huge communal "red table." There is a big open kitchen in the rear with a counter in front of it where you order your food. Self-seating includes booths, tables and the bar, which extends the entire length of the room. The overall feeling is rustic, unpretentious, funky and hip.


You place your order at the counter, all at once, or a few items at a time, then take a number. They'll keep your tab open. A server brings the food and beverages to your table. (Table service is offered, but it takes much longer and it's really not their style.)

What is edgy comfort food? How about five different kinds of French fries, from Bollywood with Madras curry and chutney to Samurai with nori, sesame seeds and wasabi mayo? All plates are listed under Share and Share More except for dessert, which is listed as Share If You Want.

We started off with the Southern fries, sweet potato fries that came with a bacon chive aioli. Big mistake! They were so crispy and delicious that we couldn't stop eating them, and we still didn't even make a dent in the generous portion. The "aioli" was quite flavorful and complemented the fries nicely, although we didn't taste any bacon.

To balance out the fries, our next course was a salad. Nicely seared fresh albacore, cut into small pieces, provided the protein in a mountain of jicama, carrots, cabbage and mizuna (a leafy Japanese green). Thick, crunchy little squares of seasoned wontons added some texture, and although the sesame dressing was tasty, there was just too much — it weighed down the greens.

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